February 18, 2019

Shopping Year-Round for Shoeboxes for Greater Value

If you follow this blog you'll have seen my Stockpile Saturday posts and know I like to shop year round for shoeboxes, I thought I'd write a post to illustrate why.  So, in between National Collection Weeks 2017 and 2018, I set aside some of the best deals I found to make a sample box to show an example of just how great of a box one can pack for just how great of a price just by keeping one's eyes open at various stores.  So here's the sample 10-14 year old shoebox for a boy.

The retail value of the box is $113.65, but we only spent $4.54!!!   This is a slightly extreme example, and you might not be able to find these exact deals, but I'd say in 2018 we averaged less than that spent per box after deals, donations, and crafting and the value per box was over $25.  Here's another example boxes from deals shopping year round.

So, how did I get those deals?  There's a few different ways:  shopping CVS deals (combining coupons, sales and ECBs), Dollar General Clearance, Bargin Hunt deals (as little as a quarter), etc.  I also had free samples/promotional items I didn't need myself. Another big way to get deals was through Office Depot Rewards (read more on my other blog here) I got items at no cost to me, I just used rewards I got for turning in used ink cartridges and reviewing items.  Here's a video that breaks it all down:

Disclaimer:  unlike our yearly boxes I share, this is a  sample box to see for myself and show what could be done in a blog post, this exact boxes was not sent intact as these items were based on value/deals not choosing to go together, but it is a good mix/example of what I put in boxes.

February 14, 2019

Simply Shoeboxes on YouTube

Hi everyone!  Today is the 14th anniversary of YouTube started, so thought I'd share our YouTube channel! We started a YouTube Channel about a year and a half ago-don't have the best equipment or voice for it, but people seem to be enjoying them, and the pace seems to be picking up with videos. Actually, of late, I seem to be getting more videos done than blog posts.  If you haven't yet, you might like to check us out at: Simply Shoeboxes on YouTube!

January 30, 2019

Shoebox Email a Long Time Coming

We recently checked our email and saw an email from a name we didn't recognize with the subject line "A message from an old friend!"  Now, normally that might look like spam, but since we send our email address in our shoeboxes, so thought I might should give it a look, then noticed that it had two photos attached and the preview showed they were a photo card we'd sent in shoeboxes and my mom's handwriting.  It turns out the email was from a child who received a shoebox we sent...in 2011!  They are now 15 years old.  They live in Ecuador.  I won't share the whole email here, as it is personal communication, and I feel funny about that, but will share a few snippets below.  As often with shoebox replies he apologized for his English not being very good, but it's better than any of my languages outside English-haha!

"I want you to know that I enjoyed the gifts that with so much love sent me 8 years ago and I want to tell you that God bless you always and have a good and long life to continue worshiping the Lord"

The fact that they not only remembered the box and had a desire to thank us after 7 years, but had held on to the photo shows the impact it had, and how important being sure to include a photo, note, and/or letter can be

December 22, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 12/22/2018 ~ Crafting and Washcloths

Got a chance to use a $5 off $15 coupon I'd gotten from Big Lots.  I really like their washcloths, they're bright and colorful, and look sturdy.  It also works out well in that they are $5 for 9, so I can just run into the store and pick up 3 packs and use the coupons, so 27 for $10 or 37 cents a piece.  Not the cheapest price, but good for the quality!!

My sister and mother have been busy sewing pencil and tote bags!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $10.68
Saved $5 or 33%
Saved thru Big Lots coupon:  $5  

December 21, 2018

Scrap Busting January for OCC Shoeboxes

We will be crafting for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes throughout the month of January 2019 using our scraps of fabric.

As my mom shows in the video below, the two main items we will be making are pencil pouches and book bags.  It is our goal to include one of each in every shoebox we pack along with school supplies.  We also want to make extras to have ready to donate if our church youth group or children's ministry do a packing party this year -- if not, we will save them for next year.  You can find tutorials for both here on our Crafting for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes page along with several other tutorials.

Chelle, from Chelle's CayBees, and Suzanne, from Sew Delightful, will be partnering with us.  Chelle will be crafting from her yarn stash for OCC and for Preemies of the Carolinas.  Suzanne will be crafting with fabric creating both sewn and no-sew projects.

A pillowcase dress sewn by Suzanne.

We want to invite all of you crafters to join us!  You can follow along on our Facebook pages to see our progress and what others are crafting and share your own completed items or work in progress.

Crocheted bears and bunnies by Chelle.

We will be crafting throughout the whole month of January so you can join us for a day, a week, or the whole month at your convenience!  What will you be crafting for Operation Christmas Child?

December 8, 2018

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 12/7/2018 ~ Donations and Deals

We got a good amount of supplies for our shoebox packing supplies this week, but didn't spend much due to donations, clearance, and crafting!

Some friends picked us up some cars at Big Lots for us-Hot Wheels and pull back cars.

Got more of the Cow Bells on clearance at US Toy-$3.95 for a dozen here's the link for the orange ones, you can search for the other colors...really happy with them as musical toy!! 

My sister had to buy a couple gifts which came to $10, so used my $5 off $15 coupon to pick up washcloths for free.  Plus at a party $5 gift exchange she got a scarf she plans to pack in a shoebox.

Finally some great items crafted by my mother and sister:  pencil bagstote bag, and Aunt Ida Hats.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $41.74 

Saved $110.40 or 72% through clearance 

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